Tony almost knock down the aged door as he rushed into the house. The duffel bag he brought in dropped on the chair beside his estranged brother. Dennis turn around and took a cursory look at his brother peeping through the window to see if anyone had followed him. The wide blood stain on his shirt, the 9mm Beretta hanging on his hips and the content of the black duffel bag on the chair, none of them beg Dennis’ question. He simply diverted attention back to his puzzle box.
Tony headed into the bathroom, he removed the weapon from his waist and dropped it on the sink. At an instant pull, his shirt came off revealing a gun shot wound around his left shoulder. Opening a cabinet, he brought out a first aid box. The moment the box opened, it’s content brought back the memory of his mother who had died of lung cancer several years ago. Tears welled up in his eyes but he fought them back before they could shed. He poured a few drops of methylated spirit on the wound. It burned him to the bone and he let out a terrific scream. As the burning sensation subsided, Tony removed his belt and bit hard on it as he buried a scissors deep into the wound. He muffled out in agony but endured the pain and continued prodding into the wound. When he eventually found what he was looking for. he gently brought out the scissors which had caught a bullet.
As the blood soaked bullet dropped on the sink, he heaved a sigh of relief. Still biting on his leather belt, he brought out a needle and thread. As the needle went through his flesh, an unimaginable pain surged through his body. When he eventually finished stitching up the wound, he took a seat on the water closet and went into a trance.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A much younger Tony and his brother were standing beside a graveyard cladding dark suits. The rain drops mixed with his tears as they both bade farewell to their beloved mother. Not a trace of tears appear on Dennis face but it was obvious that he mourns in his own lonely world. A hand appeared on Tony’s shoulder and when he looked, he realized it was Mr Jendor.
“Don’t worry, I am always here for you.” He said.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tony jolted out of his trance and dashed into the bedroom. He brought out their traveling bags and started filling it with their essential belongings. As soon he was done, he raced to the sitting room. Dennis was still busy with his puzzle, Tony had learnt never to disturb his autistic brother whenever he was solving his riddles but he had no choice, they needed to leave immediately.
“Dennis get up we have to go.” He said but Dennis never took his eyes off the puzzle.
“Dennis, we don’t have time for these.”
Tony pulled the puzzle away to gain his brother’s attention but instead, Dennis snarled angrily at him. It took a few minutes before Tony could calm his brother down and in the end Dennis returned to his puzzle.
Tony boiled with anger, it was one of those moments he regretted the fact that he had an autistic elder brother. He thought about leaving Dennis behind but he remembered the promise he made to his mother on her sick bed.
Tony resigned to fate and impatiently waited for his brother to finish with the puzzle. Suddenly the door blasted open bringing in Mr Jendor and one of his goons. Before Tony could utter a single word, a hard punch landed on him and he went down.
“Are you going somewhere?” Mr Jendor asked eyeing the packed bag as he comfortably took his seat.
Tony tried to stand up with little blood at the corner of his swollen lips. Snitching on Jendor was a terrible decision.
“How could you do this? You were my favorite.”
“The cops showed up during the deal and it became a shit show. I had to run for my life.” He explained in jittery.
The goon wanted to land another punch on him but Mr Jendor stopped him.
“I just had an interesting discussion with our police informant, do you know what he told me? He said one of my boys talked.”
Tony saw Mr Jendor’s eyes fell on the duffel bag. He knew had been blown, taking the drug money was a necessity, he needed it to disappear.
“I can never betrayed you sir.” Tony lied.
He never really wanted to wear the wire but the cops had offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse.
“I believe you, I really do but I think Dennis here can tell us how he come by this big bag sitting next to him .” Mr Jendor sat opposite Dennis, watching as his adroitly work on the puzzle.
“Please leave my brother out of this, he has done nothing.” Tony pleaded.
“I think he can speak for himself.”
Mr Jendor pointed the gun to Dennis’ head but Dennis remained completely loyal to his game.
“Such a handsome young man, living in his own fantasy. It must have been such a burden to you Tony.” He caressed Dennis’ cheeks with the gun.
Tony heart palpitated as he saw Mr Jendor’s finger dancing around the trigger.
“Let’s see what you are doing here.” Mr Jendor let his gun down on the table and watched as Dennis was solving the mysterious puzzle.
An idea suddenly came into Tony’s mind, he kicked the table and the gun slid to his side just in time for him to catch it. The goon behind wanted to go for his own gun but it was already too late. Tony dropped him like a fly before sending two bullets into Mr Jendor’s chest.
Tony gazed into his brother’s blood stained face as he continued with his game unbothered, if Dennis understood all that has happened no one couldn’t tell. All secrets seemed buried under that straight face of his. At this point Tony envied his brother’s condition. Perhaps ignorance is a bliss after all.
Suddenly Dennis’ face brighten up and Tony recognized the smile, his brother had finished solving the intricate puzzle.
Written by Oluwafunminiyi Komolafe